The main issue with the tenth and final season of “SG-1” has been consistency. While many were shocked when the end of the series was announced, that was more a matter of timing. The series had managed to avoid the chopping block for half its life, after initial cancellation at the end of the fifth season on Showtime. Knowing all of that, it’s surprising how little time has been spent clearing the decks and wrapping up plot threads.
For instance, who expected the producers, with only a handful of episodes left, to trot out a stand-alone installment with only the most tenuous links to the overall season arc? Granted, this was the problem with the ninth season as well, and a problem with the second half of nearly every season for shows given this “split season” format. The first half seems to be dominated by plot-heavy material, and the second half seems to deviate into stand-alone territory.
Knowing all of this, it would be easy to dismiss this episode and let frustration take its toll. That would be an unfortunate mistake, because taken on its own, this is a fairly amusing episode. No matter how serious the situation seems to get, there’s an underlying comic touch. This has been the hallmark of the series since its inception (though it was once a bit more subtle), and this episode keeps the tradition alive.
Beyond its surprising entertainment value, the episode is notable for its unusual guest star. Joshua Malina is better known for his dramatic work (“West Wing”, “A Few Good Men”) and his dry comic delivery than his appearances in genre television. At first, I thought my eyes and ears were deceiving me! Malina’s presence is both positive and negative. It’s positive in that it lends a certain legitimacy to the series, even at this late hour, but negative in that his character lacks depth and his performance pales to his better-known work.
That said, this is “SG-1”, and few members of the audience are looking for scripts on the level of an Aaron Sorkin. It’s all about the entertainment value, and the episode delivers that (and some twists and turns) rather well. If one can overcome the frustration of yet another stand-alone episode when so little time remains until the end, this is a pleasant hour’s worth of diversion.